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About: Craton is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 12707 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 563004 citation(s).
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Book ChapterDOI
Roberta L. Rudnick1, Shan GaoInstitutions (1)
Abstract: This chapter reviews the present-day composition of the continental crust, the methods employed to derive these estimates, and the implications of the continental crust composition for the formation of the continents, Earth differentiation, and its geochemical inventories. We review the composition of the upper, middle, and lower continental crust. We then examine the bulk crust composition and the implications of this composition for crust generation and modification processes. Finally, we compare the Earth's crust with those of the other terrestrial planets in our solar system and speculate about what unique processes on Earth have given rise to this unusual crustal distribution.

6,366 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A survey is given of the dimensions and composition of the present continental crust. The abundances of immobile elements in sedimentary rocks are used to establish upper crustal composition. The present upper crustal composition is attributed largely to intracrustal differentiation resulting in the production of granites senso lato. Underplating of the crust by ponded basaltic magmas is probably a major source of heat for intracrustal differentiation. The contrast between the present upper crustal composition and that of the Archean upper crust is emphasized. The nature of the lower crust is examined in the light of evidence from granulites and xenoliths of lower crustal origin. It appears that the protoliths of most granulite facies exposures are more representative of upper or middle crust and that the lower crust has a much more basic composition than the exposed upper crust. There is growing consensus that the crust grows episodically, and it is concluded that at least 60% of the crust was emplaced by the late Archean (ca. 2.7 eons, or 2.7 Ga). There appears to be a relationship between episodes of continental growth and differentiation and supercontinental cycles, probably dating back at least to the late Archean. However, such cycles do not explain the contrast in crustal compositions between Archean and post-Archean. Mechanisms for deriving the crust from the mantle are considered, including the role of present-day plate tectonics and subduction zones. It is concluded that a somewhat different tectonic regime operated in the Archean and was responsible for the growth of much of the continental crust. Archean tonalites and trond-hjemites may have resulted from slab melting and/or from melting of the Archean mantle wedge but at low pressures and high temperatures analogous to modern boninites. In contrast, most andesites and subduction-related rocks, now the main contributors to crustal growth, are derived ultimately from the mantle wedge above subduction zones. The cause of the contrast between the processes responsible for Archean and post-Archean crustal growth is attributed to faster subduction of younger, hotter oceanic crust in the Archean (ultimately due to higher heat flow) compared with subduction of older, cooler oceanic crust in more recent times. A brief survey of the causes of continental breakup reveals that neither plume nor lithospheric stretching is a totally satisfactory explanation. Speculations are presented about crustal development before 4000 m.y. ago. The terrestrial continental crust appears to be unique compared with crusts on other planets and satellites in the solar system, ultimately a consequence of the abundant free water on the Earth.

3,188 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Zheng-Xiang Li1, Zheng-Xiang Li2, Svetlana Bogdanova3, Alan S. Collins4  +14 moreInstitutions (13)
Abstract: This paper presents a brief synthesis of the current state of knowledge on the formation and break-up of the early-Neoproterozoic supercontinent Rodinia, and the subsequent assembly of Gondwanaland. Our discussions are based on both palaeomagnetic constraints and on geological correlations of basement provinces, orogenic histories, sedimentary provenance, the development of continental rifts and passive margins, and the record of mantle plume events. Rodinia assembled through worldwide orogenic events between 1300 Ma and 900 Ma, with all, or virtually all, continental blocks known to exist at that time likely being involved. In our preferred Rodinia model, the assembly process features the accretion or collision of continental blocks around the margin of Laurentia. Like the supercontinent Pangaea, Rodinia lasted about 150 million years after complete assembly. Mantle avalanches, caused by the sinking of stagnated slabs accumulated at the mantle transition zone surrounding the supercontinent, plus thermal insulation by the supercontinent, led to the formation of a mantle superswell (or superplume) beneath Rodinia 40–60 million years after the completion of its assembly. As a result, widespread continental rifting occurred between ca. 825 Ma and 740 Ma, with episodic plume events at ca. 825 Ma, ca. 780 Ma and ca. 750 Ma. Like its assembly, the break-up of Rodinia occurred diachronously. The first major break-up event occurred along the western margin of Laurentia (present coordinates), possibly as early as 750 Ma. Rifting between the Amazonia craton and the southeastern margin of Laurentia started at approximately the same time, but only led to break-up after ca. 600 Ma. By this time most of the western Gondwanan continents had joined together, although the formation of Gondwanaland was not complete until ca. 530 Ma.

2,355 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Yongsheng Liu1, Yongsheng Liu2, Shan Gao1, Zhaochu Hu1  +3 moreInstitutions (2)
Abstract: We present the first finding of continental crust-derived Precambrian zircons in garnet/spinel pyroxenite veins within mantle xenoliths carried by the Neogene Hannuoba basalt in the central zone of the North China Craton (NCC). Petrological and geochemical features indicate that these mantle-derived composite xenoliths were formed by silicic melt^lherzolite interaction. The Precambrian zircon ages can be classified into three age groups of 2·4^2·5 Ga, 1·6^2·2 Ga and 0·6^1·2 Ga, coinciding with major geological events in the NCC. These Precambrian zircons fall in the field of continental granitoid rocks in plots of U/Yb vs Hf and Y. Their igneous-type REE patterns and metamorphic zircon type CL images indicate that they were not crystallized during melt^peridotite interaction and subsequent high-pressure metamorphism.The 2·5 Ga zircons have positive eHf(t) values (2·9^10·6), whereas the younger Precambrian zircons are dominated by negative eHf(t) values, indicating an ancient continental crustal origin.These observations suggest that the Precambrian zircons were xenocrysts that survived melting of recycled continental crustal rocks and were then injected with silicate melt into the host peridotite. In addition to the Precambrian zircons, igneous zircons of 315 3 Ma (2 ), 80^170 Ma and 48^64 Ma were separated from the garnet/spinel pyroxenite veins; these provide evidence for lower continental crust and oceanic crust recycling-induced multi-episodic melt^peridotite interactions in the central zone of the NCC. The combination of the positive eHf(t) values (2·91^24·6) of the 315 Ma zircons with the rare occurrence of 302^324 Ma subduction-related diorite^granite plutons in the northern margin of the NCC implies that the 315 Ma igneous zircons might record melt^peridotite interactions in the lithospheric mantle induced by Palaeo-Asian oceanic crust subduction. Igneous zircons of age 80^170 Ma generally coexist with the Precambrian metamorphic zircons and have lower Ce/Yb and Th/U ratios, higher U/Yb ratios and greater negative Eu anomalies.The eHf(t) values of these zircons vary greatly from ^47·6 to 24·6.The 170^110 Ma zircons are generally characterized by negative eHf(t) values, whereas the 110^100 Ma zircons have positive eHf(t) values.These observations suggest that melt^peridotite interactions at 80^170 Ma were induced by partial melting of recycled continental crust. The 48^64 Ma igneous zircons are characterized by negligible Ce anomalies, unusually high REE, U and Th contents, and positive eHf(t) values.These features imply that the melt^peridotite interactions at 48^64 Ma could be associated with a depleted mantle-derived carbonate melt or fluid.

2,259 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A recently proposed model for the evolution of the North China Craton envisages discrete Eastern and Western Blocks that developed independently during the Archean and collided along the Trans-North China Orogen during a Paleoproterozoic orogenic event. This model has been further refined and modified by new structural, petrological and geochronological data obtained over the past few years. These new data indicate that the Western Block formed by amalgamation of the Ordos Block in the south and the Yinshan Block in the north along the east-west-trending Khondalite Belt some time before the collision of the Western and Eastern Blocks. The data also suggest that the Eastern Block underwent Paleoproterozoic rifting along its eastern continental margin in the period 2.2–1.9 Ga, and was accompanied by deposition of the Fenzishan and Jingshan Groups in Eastern Shandong, South and North Liaohe Groups in Liaoning, Laoling and Ji’an Groups in Southern Jilin, and possibly the Macheonayeong Group in North Korea. The final closure of this rift system at ∼1.9 Ga led to the formation of the Jiao-Liao-Ji Belt. In the late Archean to early Paleoproterozoic, the western margin of the Eastern Block faced a major ocean, and the east-dipping subduction beneath the western margin of the Eastern Block led to the formation of magmatic arcs that were subsequently incorporated into the Trans-North China Orogen. Continued subduction resulted in a major continent-continent collision, leading to extensive thrusting and high-pressure metamorphism. The available age data for metamorphism and deformation in the Trans-North China Orogen indicate that this collisional event occurred at about 1.85 Ga ago, resulting in the formation of the Trans-North China Orogen and final amalgamation of the North China Craton.

1,715 citations

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